November 4, 2016

Do We Want Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them?

Sophie Goldman ‘19

This month, longtime fans of the Harry Potter series will be treated to something they always hope for but never dare to expect: a return to the wizarding world in the form of a new movie. While many are ecstatic that they are being given another opening into the wizarding world, some wonder why a story completely unrelated to the characters or events of the original series needs to be told.  
The movie, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, is actually based on a textbook used by students at Hogwarts in the original Harry Potter series rather than the plotline of the previous eight films.
Fans will be taken back to 1920s New York City, a very different setting compared to other movies in the series. The new protagonist is Newt Scamander, a collector of magical creatures. However, after many of his beasts escape into the muggle world, conflict ensues, heightened by already tense relations between wizards and muggles, or non-wizards.
Junior Sam Lurie is excited about the film, but has gripes about its existence.
“I am excited for the movie, but I don’t see why it needs to come out,” he said. “I love the Harry Potter books and movies but they had an excellent conclusion. I am worried that J. K. Rowling is simply trying to milk the Harry Potter cash cow and does not have a real story to tell.”   
Fellow Junior Theo Deitz-Green said he is always captivated by Rowling’s world.
“If you put aside the fact that magic doesn't exist,” he said, :you could actually imagine a world functioning like the world of Harry Potter does. But [Rowling] only gave us a glimpse of a specific time and place in that world and left us wondering about magic in other times and places.”
Deitz-Green added that he always wanted to know more about wizard-muggle relations and hopes this movie will give viewers a new angle into this magical world.
“Do wizards ever exert influence on muggle events?” he asked. “For instance, if it is clear to them that muggles are about to do something really stupid or even harmful, will they step in, do a few simple spells and change the course of muggle history for the better?”
Junior Dina Doctoroff  agrees with Deitz-Green. She said that even though the Harry Potter world has already expanded into seven books and eight movies, the story only covers magical life in a small part of Britain. She wonders how the the culture of magic in Britain differs with the rest of the world.
While some fans are skeptical of this movie and view it simply as a means to make money, the majority of fans are excited to see different aspects of the wizarding world: magic in a different time, magic in a different place and the relationships between muggles and wizards. And of course, fans are excited for a return to the Harry Potter world and a new, exciting magical adventure that will always be there to welcome them home.

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